Hacking the happiness treadmill
This was really great--there’s so much crap written about happiness, but this just rocks. Doesn’t hurt that some of my favorite childhood memories came from Cedar Point ...
I suspect a useful companion piece to happy reminiscence ("recyclers") is happy anticipation. Consider "pre-trip happiness": https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11482-009-9091-9
These methods is a close mapping of the Copy (Recyclers), Transform (Variators), Combine (Disruptors) mode of memetics, but with two more parts regarding narrative (Cutoffs, Peaks and finales). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41265-017-0043-9
One of the least appreciated hacks to happiness is appreciation. Thankfulness. The old song says "count your blessings, name them one by one" and the process of delineating all of your positive status items in your life really does bring a sense of joy and happiness. It helps to move The positive items from the "taken for granted" list to the "good things a really accumulating for me" list.
I have taught my kids for years that without appreciation aka thankfulness it's impossible to have long-term happiness.
How would you suggest utilizing these tools to "optimize" the experiencing the things you mentioned at the outset: money, prestige, etc? It seems that when artificially creating an experience it is feasible to intentionally alter it in a way that maximizes the treadmill experience. However, fixed psychological desires/ needs in life like money, prestige, etc are seemingly very difficult to retrofit in such a way as to hack the innate treadmill.
let the mind alone, nature knows what it's doing. if we are always hyped we loose the drive to pursuit happiness because there would be no room left for that spike arousal of hedonistic accomplishment, it's the sense of perpetual dissatisfaction that moves us forward and the concept of utopia, being unattainable by definition, depends on it. but must be carefully nurtured otherwise unbounded dissatisfaction leads to frustration on the long run. also, there are some forms of pleasure more reliant on a speedier satisfaction lifecycle like fashion and consumerism drived by advertising industry need for us to buy ever more in ever less time. they know our mind and psychology work and explore that to the extreme, we must resist their assault on our mind's willingness for immediate pleasure and seek more sustainable and stable forms of accomplishment like a hobby, a volunteer cause, or work, for instance
One of the curious results around happiness which seems to fit into your taxonomy of 'things which seem like they might be bad for happiness but are the opposite' is spoilers. Spoilers are a massive pet peeve of mine on a personal level, but there's a fairly well-established finding that they actually improve peoples' enjoyment of a film/series/book. It's truly fascinating how little we understand what increases our enjoyment.
The hedonic treadmill is the problem, in itself, because "happiness" is ill defined. What people want, I think, is a sense of meaning and purpose rather than perpetual "happiness" (whatever exactly that even means.)
Happiness is something we discover in the past moment when we sit down and think over and over again in our CHILDHOOD.
I like these hacks, it’s also a mindset that needs to be at the forefront of all of this, why not eudaemonia over hedonism? Ive been interested recently around eudaemonia, Whilst i’m familiar with some of its stoic principles im just barely scratching the surface,
this is just my take, but there’s noticeable patterns within literature in subjects such as minimalism, buddhism and stoicism. All pointing towards eudaemonia over hedonism. Sam Harris in his Waking Up Book / App covers this hedonic treadmill well too
we don’t embrace the impermanence of things
we’re programmed in the western world to be constantly chasing desire, these hacks build gratitude, which is a trait in eudaemonia,
thanks for sharing 🙏